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“US Congress authorizes war against North Vietnam…”

“The Civil Rights Act of 1964 is signed into law…”

“Race Riots in Major US Cities have taken…”

“Average cost of new home in the US skyrockets to $13,000 – average rent to $115 per month.”

Hasbro launch G.I. Joe an action figure for boys

“Gas price in many cities jumps to 30 cents per gallon.”

“The Ford Mustang has rolled off the assembly line and will be making its national debut with a list price of $2,399”

“Gemini 1 is launched, the first unmanned test of the 2-man spacecraft”

Trip Contra Costa County
California
1964

A noise grabbed my attention, followed by Preston”s voice. I wasn”t sure though. I reached over and turned the volume knob on the little black and white TV and listened.

Nothing.

Looking into the mostly-dark side of the room I could see Preston sleeping, still and peaceful. Something was different though; Mr. Potato Head was no longer precariously perched atop the dresser, but lay dead on the floor, his one remaining plastic eye staring at the ceiling. That must have been the noise I”d heard.

I moved closer and watched Preston”s little chest rise and fall, just making sure. I felt the urge to brush the soft black hair from his eyes. I resisted though, not wanting to wake him.

He was a sweet but fearful boy, attached to me at the hip. More often than I”d like to admit, he talked me into watching his little TV with him, in his bed, until he fell asleep. This is how it usually played out. But even after all that, I would discover him laying beside me in my bed when I woke in the morning.

~

Numbers rise in American servicemen killed in combat

The Beatles hold the top five positions in the Billboard Top 40 singles in America

Three civil rights workers murdered in Mississippi

The Boston Strangler Albert DeSalvo is captured

The 24th Amendment to the Constitution of the United States was finally ratified yesterday which makes poll taxes illegal in all US states as it been used as a blunt tool for barring poverty-stricken whites and Negroes from participating in the electoral process.

Investigation concluded with the Warren Commission report:
  1. John F. Kennedy assassinated on Friday, November 22nd , 1963, in Dealey Plaza, Dallas, Texas
  1a. 1:00 PM CST the 35th President of The United States John Fitzgerald Kennedy is declared dead at Parkland Hospital”s Trauma Room
  2. Suspects description is given to Dallas Police
  3. 13:35 CST Dallas police officer, J. D. Tippit called Lee Harvey Oswald ( Matches Suspects description ) over to the patrol car.
  4. Lee Harvey Oswald shot and killed Dallas police officer, J. D. Tippit
  5. 13:37 CST Oswald enters a nearby movie theater without buying a ticket
  6. 13:40 CST Oswald is arrested by police officer, M.N. McDonald
  7. Oswald is charged later that evening with the murder of President John F. Kennedy and Officer J. D. Tippit
  8. Jack Ruby murders suspected assassin Lee Harvey Oswald during the transportation of Oswald from Dallas Police Headquarters to the Dallas County Jail on November 24th live on television.
  9.President Lyndon Baines Johnson sworn in as President on Air Force One at Love Field Airport in Dallas just over two hours after President Kennedy assassinated

Warren Commission report on the assassination of President John F. Kennedy concludes Lee Harvey Oswald had acted alone. On September 24th, the report was presented to President Johnson and then on September 27th, 1964 it was released to the public.

Heart of Atlanta Motel v. United States Supreme Court Case decided

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr receives the Nobel Peace Prize.

President Lyndon Johnson declares a War On Poverty Campaign

Washington D.C. residents are able to vote in a presidential election for the first time

World”s Fair held in New York

The Mariner 4 spacecraft is launched by NASA.

Nelson Mandela and seven others are sentenced to life imprisonment in South Africa

Plans to build the New York City World Trade Center are announced.

The Soviet Union launches two scientific satellites, Elektron I and II, from a single rocket.

He was six and a half already. I was just a kid myself when Preston was born — well, sort of. Seventeen can still be a kid, depending on whose mother you ask. But I hadn”t been there for Preston”s birth, or to hold his tiny newborn body or to change his diapers or to feed him Gerber”s from a jar.

I wasn”t in his life at all. This wasn”t my choice, but Becca”s, his mother.

Maybe it was a good thing it happened that way. I wouldn”t have known what to do with a little boy as unusual as Preston. I still didn”t, really.

And it wasn”t just Preston that was unusual. It had been one crazy thing after another, and it seemed my life begged to be narrated as some kind of cautionary tale…

“Witness if you will, one Nicolas Rivera, wounded soldier and soon-to-be single parent, returns home from the battlefield to find he”s stepped into… the Twilight Zone.”

Several things had changed. I was no longer a “patriot,” not like before — not after learning just how pointless were the deaths of my brothers-in-arms”.

Another big change was my three missing toes.

A little something about landmines — they didn”t always kill you, depending on which type they were and how well they were set up. Defenseless little boys and girls were usually killed though, or maybe they just lost a leg, if they were lucky — or both legs. And yes, big tough soldiers were killed by landmines too, quite often. But sometimes, soldiers wearing government-issue military boots were luckier than little boys and girls… sometimes soldiers in big sturdy boots just lost a foot, or part of a foot, or some toes.

Here”s the noteworthy part that made me a temporary celebrity back home: the day I lost three toes is ankara eve gelen escort the very same day President John F. Kennedy lost his life, having taken two bullets to the head.

Just about every soldier was in disbelief, even the ones who didn”t care much for the catholic liberal-democrat president. And pretty much everyone in the world, not to mention the soldiers themselves, understood that Vietnam was a dangerous place to be right then. By contrast, back home was safe — safe from the “godless communists.” So this crazy news about the president being shot felt like the world had turned upside down.

Anyway, the combat reporting team who put together a montage of comments and reactions concerning the tragic death of our president, showed up at the hospital. They spoke with several soldiers, but when they got to me, they asked from a slightly different perspective. They asked me for any insightful thoughts I might have concerning the president”s assassination, specifically because I (and one other guy in my unit who was in no condition to answer questions from reporters) was wounded on the very same day Kennedy was shot and killed.

I replied something like: “Everyone here is in shock. And yeah, I stepped on a landmine, in a war zone, in Southeast Asia… but back home, in the USA, where there is no war, and it”s supposedly safe, the president was shot and killed. I lost some toes in Vietnam and he lost his life in America?… it makes no sense.” It was but a tiny slice of a larger story that ended up on The Huntley-Brinkley Report back home.

Even though America was in mourning, I was a long-distance celebrity at Rivera”s (the bar we were both sixteen. I thought I was the only one home. I was so wrong.

This was no small thing. Luis Rivera, my father, walked in on his youngest son, Nick, that”s me, in the garage, lying on a sleeping bag, sucking his friend”s dick.

My dad didn”t say anything. He slammed and locked the door. He locked all the doors in fact, and for two weeks I was homeless, staying with friends and sometimes on the sleeping bag in the garage (which contained everything except a car), disowned by my father…scared to death about who my father would tell. All my friends? My older brother and sister? The neighbors?

My mother tried to calm things down of course, but my father couldn”t be calmed. I was the baby of the family and my brother and sister were already gone, out on their own. Neither of them even lived in Cali anymore. I felt utterly alone with no one to look out for me.

After my father finally let me come back home, he still didn”t talk to me. But what I didn”t know was… he had plotted to set his wayward son on the right path.

How?

Simple! He paid a girl to seduce me and make me into a man — a girl I already knew, or knew of, rather. The girl was Rebecca, Becca for short, the future-Preston”s mother.

Becca went to the same high school as me, but a couple of years ahead. She was a card-carrying party girl. How my father knew her I have no clue to this day.

There were rumors Becca could get reefer, which made her seem sexy and dangerous. And sometimes she got alcohol for the cool kids. But I didn”t know if any of that was true. What I did know about her was: she was fairly good looking, and definitely flirty. Her reputation of being easy neither bothered nor impressed me. After all, I had done stuff with my best friend; I was no Dudley Do-Right.

But I wasn”t attracted to her. So when she got me alone, and came on to me relentlessly, I was nothing but embarrassed. She didn”t give up though. In the same garage my father had caught me with my friend Leonard, Becca got into my pants, and soon, it was her doing the sucking. After she got me desperate to cum, she pulled me on top of her, and for the first time in my life, I fucked a girl.

It wasn”t until much later I found out my father had paid her to do it. Nor did I know that my father”s sudden interest in me after that (temporarily at least) was nothing more than probing to see if his son had been fixed and was truly now a man. Anyway, that was the extent of Becca and me. She had done her job.

 

Soon after that though, Becca hit the jackpot; she met a guy with money (or more money than she was used to anyway). He headed chemistry research at Berkeley and was involved in some or other big-deal project.

From what I pieced together over time, from friends and family, Mr. Big Shot Berkeley, Ned, experimented with some chemicals on his own time, psychedelics of his own invention.

Rumor had it, his big-deal project was financed by the military. I wasn”t impressed by rumors though. Our small town had lots of rumors. Besides, what could psychedelic drugs have to do with the Military? The very idea was ridiculous.

Okay, this is where it got a little weird: at some point in their wild romance, Becca had been brought to the hospital by a driver who had come inches from flattening her in the middle of the road, where she wandered, naked, babbling nonsense to people who weren”t there. She was promptly admitted.

A couple of hours later though, before Becca”s mother even knew anything about this, Ned showed up at the hospital with some legal paperwork and took Becca home with him, against the attending physicians advice.

Something good had come from the hospital incident though (depending on your point of view), Becca found out she was pregnant.

Ned was going to be a father. He was thrilled. They didn”t plan to get married; it was a new age after all. Marriage was becoming passe. Beatniks were trading in their berets and goatees for flowers and beads. The Establishment was the new enemy. Ned and Becca didn”t need a piece of paper to procreate.

Another strange part of this… was when I found out the origins of the name Preston. It didn”t strike me as an odd exactly; I”d heard it before. I just couldn”t recall ever meeting anyone by the name Preston. It sounded English, even British maybe. “Preston? Must be a family name.” But I was taken aback when I saw his birth certificate. “Prestonio.” I”d never seen or heard it in that form. It sounded Spanish. So, trying to put it all together in my head, if Becca didn”t know I was the father until she saw the brown face of her newborn baby, Prestonio was probably chosen after Preston was born. Right?

Then my mother had reluctantly explained, as much as she knew, at least. They had named Preston after a plant. Yes, a goddam psychedelic plant gaziantep escort — the Prestonia something-or-other (Prestonia Amazonica, I learned from a session at our local library).

What a trip!

I had been angry, initially, but that didn”t last long. Honestly, I didn”t know what to think or feel about it. So I did the only thing I could. I embraced it. Preston, short for Prestonio.

And they did get it right, in a way — my little boy really was a trip.

 

The hair on my arms stand up — a short flash of electricity, accompanied by another noise. Snap! I had almost fallen asleep next to Preston.

I sat up and looked around the room. Mr. Potato Head was still lifeless on the floor, but his one remaining eye was now gone too, and the hole in his brown potato body was plugged with the eye stalk — a broken white plastic tab.

Scanning the dim room, I searched for the eye. When I finally looked up, I saw it — the plastic eye was on the ceiling. I looked closely at Preston, noticed the almost-imperceptible breath of deep sleep, decided against kissing his little cheek again, and quietly slid out of bed.

I snatched my half-drank bottle of Schlitz from the night table. But before going back to the little chair in front of the TV, I stopped under the plastic eye and looked up. I couldn”t quite reach the ceiling.

Was the eye stuck there, or was it just sort of lying on the ceiling? I couldn”t tell. The hair on my neck prickled for a second.

I picked up one of Preston”s coloring books, stretched it up and brushed it against the eye. It fell to the floor. I examined it then laid it on the dresser and went back to the TV, keeping the volume low.

For Ned and Becca, the happy expectant couple — their bliss had dissolved the instant Ned saw the newborn Preston — Mexican. Ned was furious.

Over time, though, he”d (somewhat) forgiven Becca. But the boy eventually became little more than an inconvenient point of contention between them, and as the months went by, little Preston was left with Becca”s mother, Jackie, and with Becca”s sister, for weeks at a time, more and more often, while her and Ned resumed their drug-fueled social life.

I still didn”t know I had a 3 year-old son at that time. I”d heard Becca was shacked-up with a guy from Berkley and they”d had a kid, but I didn”t know much more than that.

Shortly after, I enlisted in the Army, guessing I”d eventually be drafted anyway. My mother was shocked, afraid, and heartbroken. Although I legitimately did feel patriotic, I secretly had a bit of a death wish.

Many things happened back at home in my absence, big life-altering changes. For one, my father went back to visit family in Mexico, and stayed there, emptying much of their savings before he left and not even bothering with a divorce. My mother hadn”t seen him since, though he did call a couple of times. (She eventually did divorce him). Of course, we all suspected the real reason for his leaving was: another woman.

I wish I could say I missed him, but after the years of being bullied and feeling rejected, the best I could say is: I had mixed feelings about him. My mother”s feelings mostly matched my own.

Rivera”s Bar & Grill now belonged solely to my mother, but she paid someone else to temporarily run it until I was able to take over the job for her, assuming I made it back alive.

Another thing that happened was far more life-changing, for Preston and for me: at the speed of seventy-five miles per hour, Ned crashed through a guard-rail and wrapped his 1962 Corvette around a cement pillar, damaging the structure of an entire highway overpass, reducing both him and Becca to a nauseating mix of flesh, twisted metal, broken glass, booze, and blood.

Preston”s mother was no more.

But that wasn”t the last link in the chain of events. I received the shocking news from my mom: I had a son.

Preston was five when I found out. The back and forth between my mother and I took place mostly by mail, but twice via long-distance call from Vietnam to the states. This was the first time I”d heard Preston”s voice.

He had called me “Daddy.” But I heard my mother in the background correct him and he switched it to “Papi,” which threw me for a loop as I flashed back to my early years with my father.

According to my mom, Becca”s mother, Jackie, had a screw loose. She had problems with Preston. She referred to him as an “odd kid.” Besides the stress of a middle-ager raising a small child, she claimed Preston hated her. She became increasingly paranoid around him.

“Paranoid? Why? He”s five!” I said to my mom over the phone.

“She has a screw loose, like I said,” my mom reiterated.

Jackie knew I would be claiming my son when I got back, so little by little, she had invited my mom to take Preston (off her hands). This was fine by my mom, and fine by me.

In letters, my mom went on and on about how cute Preston was. She made a big deal about his eye color which didn”t exactly match — one was greenish and the other brown, which made him all the more adorable in her opinion.

“I just wish he talked more,” she had written. “He”s so quiet. I find myself wondering what he”s thinking.”

The more I thought about this, the angrier I got. My little boy had been pawned off from one relative to the next. Poor kid. I pouted, my eyes tearing up. And I was still pissed off that Jackie had known I was Preston”s father all that time. Not that I blamed her exactly. She didn”t know me. But just the fact that I was kept in the dark about such an important thing was infuriating.

Between that time and my return from Vietnam, Preston had built me up in his mind, his soldier-father, and he”d started to hero-worship me. I blamed (and thanked) my mom for this — I worried that I could not possibly live up to the image he had of me, but still reveled in the knowledge that my little boy held me in such regard.

My mother had sent me a photo. She had said he looked like me. I assumed she was just playing it up. But when I saw the photo, I was stunned how much he looked like the pictures of me when I was his age. Well, except for his oddly colored eyes. One brown and the other green. I smiled. My mom was right — it made him all the more adorable.

 

The meeting at the airport with my mother and sister — who was visiting for the day specifically to welcome ankara gerçek resimli escort her little brother home from the war, and most importantly, Preston — was overwhelming.

My mother looked like she was trying not to cry as I limped down the ramp to meet them. She”d always been a tough cookie, as they say. My sister didn”t bother to hide her tears, and it took everything I had to not cry myself.

Their Nicky was home, limping, but very much alive.

And standing with my mom and my sister… was my Preston. Mi hijo. My son.

My mother had shown Preston all my photos from the time I was a little boy up to the recent army photos. He already knew me, literally, by the time he laid eyes on for the first time at the airport. But more than that, I could tell by the way he acted toward me, my mother had built me up to him to such an extent, he already loved me.

I picked him up and held him to me like I would never let him go. I loved him the instant my arms wrapped around his small body. So yes, I would later scold my mom for building me up so much to Preston, but I would also hug her for it.

I had went to Vietnam with a death wish, and returned with everything to live for. And from Preston, I got the feeling (or maybe it just seemed this way to me) he saw me as the end of the line — his destination. He had been pawned off, passed from relative to relative, but he eventually made it to me. His daddy. His papi.

I crouched down to his level and looked at him, not wanting to make him self-conscious, but unable to help myself — his raven-black hair, tan flawless skin typical of a child his age, sweet button nose, and lovely dark eyes that didn”t quite match in color. “In your picture, you look a lot like me, but now that I”m here, I”d say you”re a little more handsome than me.”

Preston pulled out a photo he carried in his back pocket. It was a small picture of me in uniform. He held it up for me to see.

“Ah, you”ve been carrying it in your butt-pocket huh? Is that good or bad?”

Preston giggled. “It”s good!”

“You got him to laugh already,” my mom teased me, her hands on her hips. “Figures.”

I stood back up and kissed her cheek again and mouthed the words “thank you, mom.” I think she could tell I was having a hard time keeping it together.

She flipped up her hand. “That”s what grandmas are for. Now let”s go home.”

 

Our new upstairs apartment was perfect. My mom convinced me that the house I grew up in was more than she needed, so she had the upstairs converted to a self-contained apartment — for me and Preston. I loved it.

Though it was my mom”s idea and she paid for it to be converted, complete with a new stairway that went up to the second floor, my uncle Jorge did most of the work. But not just that, she had it all furnished and set up. Most of it wasn”t brand new, but I didn”t care about that — two beds, a regular one in the larger bedroom, (my sister”s old room) and a smaller bed in Preston”s new bedroom (my old room), dressers, a double-seater couch, a couple of chairs, a small portable TV with built-in rabbit-ears, and a small fridge. The most expensive part had been the extra plumbing.

After a tour of our new loft, I was crazy-tired, mostly because of the long flight. But I was too excited to rest. Though Preston seemed equally excited to be with me, I could think of little to say except small-talk. He showed me his various Tonka trucks in the back yard my mom bought for him. I was impressed by the intricate pattern of tiny trails and pathways in the grass and dirt he”d made while playing with them over the past year.

A few minutes later I saw my mom smile at us out the window, rolling her eyes as Preston and I lay on the grass, hauling gravel and a couple of boulders (small rocks actually) down the construction site road in our trucks. “VRRR-VRRR-UMMM…” was the sound Preston made as his overfilled dump truck labored to climb a ramp I”d placed on the path (an old small plank). “Joe, I”m not gonna make it up!” Preston announced. “Hang on, Ralph, I”ll give you a push!” I responded. (Preston giggled) I drove the big Tonka loader up the ramp behind Preston”s dump truck and slowly pushed him the rest of the way up. “RUUUMMM…” At the top, Preston swiveled his truck around in the other direction (cheater!) and dumped the gravel to the ground in a pile. Never would I have guessed I would have so much fun playing with Tonka trucks at age twenty-three.

Later, Preston was excited when I reminded him Johnny Quest was on. We lay on the big bed, backs propped against the wall, watching Johnny Quest. But within ten minutes, Preston was nodding off, trying hard to stay awake. It had been a long day for him.

 

I was lying somewhere.
On a bed?
In a field?
Was I floating in water?
I didn”t know.
I felt incredible lust.
I was hard, crazy-hard!
This felt wonderful! — whatever this was.
My dick was thrusting in and out.
Was I humping against someone?
No. I wasn”t humping.
Was I jacking off?
I finally realized, yes
…wasn”t I?
Of course! I could feel my hand pumping my erection.
No, that wasn”t right,
…it was a small hand, with small fingers,
wrapped around my throbbing pole.

Just as I ejaculated, I opened my eyes.

I shivered and spasmed, then gasped as I experienced a delicious orgasm.

As my semen was still flowing out of me and into my underwear, I tried to make sense of what was happening.

Preston was asleep next to me, but turned in a cockeyed position, as kids tend to move throughout the night. Even though there wasn”t much light, I could clearly see his face and I could hear his breathing. I leaned closer. He was in a deep sleep.

A wet dream. I had a fucking wet dream! First time in my life, that I could remember, anyway. Sure, I”d jacked off in the middle of the night many times, then fell back asleep. But I”d never experienced a legitimate wet dream — the kind described by school friends and in novels.

I thought, “Thank God I didn”t wake Preston.”

 

 

I would learn almost right away that Preston was anything but a normal kid. One of the biggest oddities about this six year-old was his sexuality.

The fact that he had one… a sexual nature… at six years-old.

I knew that all boys got a stiffy from time to time. I sure had! But with Preston, there was much more to it than that.

To be continued

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